I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish – Romans 1:14

In Christian circles, we use the word “call” often and just like the word love, grace, mercy, worship, and Christian, these words can start to lose their power in the English vernacular. The Apostle Paul was writing to the Christians in Rome and telling them how he desired to visit them. He then defined what we refer to as a “call” as an obligation.

Challenge yourself to substitute the word “obligation” for “call” each time. It will have a significant impact on your life and the choices you make. We may even be slow to designate our calls and ask God to confirm all the more. The word obligation is much less ethereal. It means something of a formal contract, an action required by promise or vow. The original Greek describes an obligated as “debtor.”

When God calls us to something specific, it becomes an obligation. Much like when we consider debt, we still have the choice to pay the debt or avoid it, but it is a debt just the same. This can be difficult to process when we think of the grace of Christ, but the grace and mercy have more to do with relationship than occupation. You see, Paul experienced the full grace of Jesus, and now he is under obligation to reach the Gentiles so they can experience the same. The call of God is by no means a grace-filled journey, your relationship with Jesus is. The call can be rough; it can tax us beyond what we can handle, and this is because we cannot do it on our own. The obligation is a partnership between Jesus and you, where Jesus carries the heaviest weight, making our burdens light.